Most Dynamic Short-Haul Destinations for Long Weekend 


When the calendar gives you long weekends, make the most of it. This year’s first one is the Republic Day holiday on Friday. For those with packed bags, here is a list of exciting short-haul destinations with the least visa formalities.


Thailand is a compelling option for lovers of azure waters, beaches, food, and nightlife, thanks to its versatile tourist attractions and local experiences that emphasise indulgence and hospitality. Tourists can spend their long weekend enjoying various water sports by the picture-perfect beaches of Phuket, Railay, Krabi, and Koh Samui, or head to Khao Lak, Koh Lipe, and Koh Kood to relish a serene coastal ambience. Epicures can endlessly gorge on mouthwatering street food in the fragrant night markets or make smart purchases in local shops or malls of Bangkok. The Thai government’s recent announcement on visa-exempted entry for Indian tourists coupled with reduced taxes on alcohol and entertainment venues makes the prospect of vacationing in Thailand even more appealing. Those preferring a lavish beachside stay will be enchanted by the excellence of Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. The resort blends serenity and bespoke luxury to create a surreal atmosphere. From dining experiences curated by a Michelin-starred chef, and cultural ambassador to guide through the day, and wellness rituals to hiking the Dragon Crest Mountain, it’s a world of its own.

Average Flight Time: About 3 hrs 40 mins

Tourist Visa Requisites: Visa-exempted stay for up to 30 days (until 10 May 2024)

Sri Lanka

This island nation prides itself on its inspiring culture, cuisine, tea plantations and sublime beaches. Balapitiya, a small town in Bentota is the epitome of coastal beauty. Its palm-fringed beaches are home to nesting marine turtles and an arena for water sports like jet skiing and windsurfing. Boat trips along the Madu Ganga river, visitation of mask museums in Ambalangoda and the colonial-era fort of Galle are easily accessible from the town. Kumu Beach by Teardrop Hotels is an excellent place to enjoy a relaxing stay and cherish the beauty of Balapitiya. Overlooking a boulder-sprinkled seafront, the contemporary beach hotel offers a personalised stay. Enjoy exceptional spa therapies to unwind and an a la carte seafood menu served by the sea. The verdant lawn surrounded by lilies is perfect for a candle-lit romantic dinner beneath the stars.

Average Flight Time: About 2 hrs 20 mins

Tourist Visa Requisites: Visa-free stay for up to 30 days (until 31 March 2024)


With beaches, a modern vibe, restaurants, and cafes, Qatar offers the best of the Middle East. The country has the perfect mix of indoor entertainment along with outdoor sun, sea, and sand activities. The Pearl Qatar, a man-made island near Doha’s West Bay District offers a luxurious shopping experience with premium designer boutiques and showrooms. The Island is dotted with numerous five-star diners specialising in Afro-Portuguese, American, Asian, European, Latin, Oriental, and Qatari cuisines. World’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project, Msheireb Downtown Doha is known for having over 100 buildings with retail and cultural offerings and a stunning courtyard. The full glory of Qatar’s diverse shopping scene is unveiled at Doha Festival City which comprises over 550 consumer brands and innovative game hubs. 

Average Flight Time: About 4 hours

Tourist Visa Requisites: Visa-on-Arrival (30 days)


One of the most visually striking countries, Seychelles’ marine and tropical wonders are irresistible. From balmy beaches that merge with clear blue waters to exotic flora, fauna, and sapid cuisines, a trip to this archipelago will thoroughly enrich the senses. During the long weekend trip, tourists can explore the Mahé island via direct or one-stop flights from major Indian cities. The Mahé island has breathtaking beaches like Anse Major, Anse Royale and Anse Intendance along with amazing hiking trails like Copolia and Morne Blanc. The Takamaka Rum Distillery is a popular stopover for rum lovers while Sainte Anne Marine National Park offers defined diving and snorkelling spots in transparent waters. At Sainte Anne, travellers can also sail glass-bottom boats or enjoy windsurfing. Visitors often spot eagle rays, pipefish, sea turtles, and bottlenose dolphins during their marine escapades.

Average Flight Time: About 4 hrs 25 mins

Tourist Visa Requisites: Visa-free stay for up to 30 days (Travel Authorisation Letter required)


Oman is replete with exotic sights and unique encounters that make it a destination like no other. The country’s capital, Muscat is celebrated for its stunning landscapes, mountains, souqs, delectable seafood and coastal experiences like dolphin watching. Travellers can go trekking, explore museums, shop for souvenirs and watch live cultural performances. The country is also known for its exceptional hospitality and sensory allure which can be experienced at Muscat’s celebrated clifftop resort, Shangri-La Muscat. Nestled in a dual resort complex, it is flanked by the majestic Hajar Mountain and the stunning Gulf of Oman. On the long weekend, check into the resort to enjoy spa therapies incorporating locally sourced frankincense and savour fresh seafood as well as world cuisine in a fine dining setting. Take a guided tour of the classic car museum and the resort’s very own frankincense garden. The private beach, one of the top five turtle nesting sites in Oman, is perfect for relaxing and water sports.

Average Flight Time: About 3 hours

Tourist Visa Requisites: e-Visa Application (30 days)


Through a combination of breathtaking vistas, cultural sites and cuisine, Vietnam serves as an incredible vacation place.  For seekers of holistic adventure, an all-inclusive resort such as The Anam Cam Ranh is a smart option. Easily accessible from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi via flight, the five-star beachside resort captures the idyll of Vietnam’s coastal charms and hospitality. With world-class gastronomy, wellness, and culturally immersive activities, the resort promises complete rejuvenation. Visit popular attractions like Ponagar Cham Towers, Ba Ho Waterfalls, Alexandre Yersin Museum, Kong Forest Adventure Park, Vinh Hy Bay and the Institute of Oceanography in Nha Trang. 

Average Flight Time: About 4 hours

Tourist Visa Requisites: Visa-on-Arrival (30 days)

Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

Known for its rich culture and diverse landscapes, Ras Al Khaimah promises an authentic and easily accessible Arabian experience. With over 7,000 years of history, it is a treasure trove of culture and cuisine. Imagine relaxing on pristine beaches, exploring lush mangrove trees, and wandering through terracotta dunes and green oases. The iconic Jebel Jais, the highest mountain peak in the UAE, adds to the charm. Nestled in the heart of the emirate is Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island, where adventure awaits. Enjoy a day at its floating waterpark followed by a sweet touch at the resort’s signature chocolate hour, luxurious spa treatment and strolling on the beachfront.

Average Flight Time: About 3 hours 20 minutes

Tourist Visa Requisites: e-Visa Application (30 days)